"Centipede #3" Trade Paperback (or Comic) Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dynamite Entertainment
Written by Max Bemis
Illustrated by Eoin Marron
Colored by Chris O'Halloran
2017, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on October 4th, 2017
Dale is the last man on earth, waging war against the giant centipede that's destroyed humanity. He's losing his mind and he's trying everything he can think of to destroy this alien creature, but to no avail. This isolation has offered him a chance to reflect on his life and his regrets. Oh, did I mention there are also big spiders roaming the countryside? That complicates matters a bit too.
Centipede bounces between over-the-top sci-fi blockbuster, laugh-out-loud humor, and somber, dramatic moments. Dale has access to a wide array of weaponry capable of blowing up spiders, but not able to put a dent in the massive flying centipede that's terrorizing him like a bad penny...that eats people. He's using these guns and bombs like Wile E. Coyote, trying everything possible to attack the alien menace, while almost breaking the fourth wall to talk to us. These scenes are interspersed with memories of his past.
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It's these scenes that elevate Centipede into a Twilight Zone-level story. Throughout his life, Dale was pushed around and he never took chances. He was deeply in love with his friend Lucas, but was afraid to do anything about it. When the centipede arrived and started attacking cities, Dale chose to run and hide instead of staying to fight and help those he loved. Now he's the only person left and he's finally standing up to this creature, but there's no one to save. No one will know he's finally standing up for himself and actually doing something with his life.
You can practically feel the desperation in Dale. It comes off him in waves. This is a man at the end of his rope. The centipede is like his white whale, haunting him from the sky like a constant reminder of all his failures. Even his moments of triumph are ruined when he realizes he still hasn't done anything to his adversary.
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Eoin Marron's artwork reflects this perfectly. Dale goes from excitement one moment to distress another, then to somber reflection. The flashback scenes hit particularly hard, especially this time around as he remembers his relationship with his parents. His father was abusive and his mother was loving. They're both gone now and he's all alone. Colorist Chris O'Halloran did a great job differentiating these sequences from the rest of the book by giving them a different shade. They look and feel like memories.
There are times the centipede appears to be taunting Dale, as if it's shouting, “Is that all you got?” at him from the sky. It's a horrifying monster that would make any normal person squirm just by the thought of it. To Dale, it represents so much more.
Centipede is like a bizarro version of Moby Dick. It's one man's war against an unstoppable beast that's always just out of reach. All of his regrets and failures in life have taken shape in a giant, flying insect with way too many legs. A therapist would have a field day with this.